University of San Diego School of Law

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University of San Diego School of Law
Warren Hall, USD.JPG
Warren Hall
Parent school University of San Diego
Established 1954[1]
School type Private
Dean Stephen Ferruolo
Location San Diego, California, US
Enrollment 1,007 (Full- and part-time)[1]
Faculty 94 (Full- and part-time)[1]
USNWR ranking 71[1]
Bar pass rate 76% (ABA profile)
ABA profile USD School of Law

The University of San Diego School of Law, commonly referred to as USD Law, is a law school located on the 182-acre (0.74 km2) campus of the University of San Diego in San Diego, California in the community of Linda Vista. Founded in 1954, the law school has held ABA approval since 1961.[2] It joined the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in 1966.[3]


USD Law offers Juris Doctor (J.D.) degrees in either a three-year full-time or a four-year part-time program. Advanced law degree programs offered include Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees in taxation law, international law, criminal law, intellectual property law, business and corporate law, and in Comparative Law for graduates of international law schools. Concurrent degree programs are offered to achieve a J.D. degree with either a Masters in Business Administration, International Master of Business Administration, or Master of Arts in International Relations.

Academic quality[edit]

USD Law placed 71st among the nation's "Top 100" law schools in the 2016 U.S. News and World Report rankings.[1] In April 2010, USD was ranked 6th in the nation in tax law and first in the Western United States among law schools with graduate tax programs.[citation needed] In January 2011, USD Law was given a "B+" in the "Best Public Interest Law Schools" listing by The National Jurist: The Magazine for Law Students.[4]

The school is a member of the Order of the Coif, a national law school honorary society founded for the purposes of encouraging legal scholarship and advancing the ethical standards of the legal profession.[5]


The dean of the law school is Stephen Ferruolo.[6] Prior to his tenure as dean, Ferruolo was a partner at the San Diego branch of Goodwin Procter, where his practice focused on business law.[7] Prior to beginning his legal career, Ferruolo was a history professor at Stanford University.[7]


In a 2003–2004 survey based exclusively on academic criteria, Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago Law School ranked USD Law 22nd in the nation for faculty scholarly reputation.[8] Leiter rated USD Law as "Also Strong" in Criminal Law & Procedure, Jurisprudence/Legal Philosophy, Law & Religion, and Legal Ethics.[9]

Eleven faculty members are members of the American Law Institute, a legal research organization.[citation needed]

Notable guest professors[edit]

On numerous occasions, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia judged the final round of intramural moot court competitions on campus prior to his death in 2016. Along with this, he was a guest lecturer of Constitutional Law classes as well as classes on Oral Advocacy.

Media appearances[edit]

Faculty member Junichi P. Semitsu appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire[10] and faculty member Frank Partnoy appeared on an episode of The Daily Show discussing his book The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, The Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals.[11]


In 2007, the 75th percentile of Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores was 164 and the 25th percentile of LSAT scores was 161 for admitted full-time students.[12]

Bar passage rates[edit]

Based on a 2001–2007 6 year average, 76.3% of USD Law graduates passed the California State Bar.[13]

Post-graduation employment[edit]

Based on a 2001–2007 6 year average, 90.6% of USD Law graduates were employed 9 months after graduation.[13]

Advocacy Programs[edit]

Appellate Moot Court[edit]

The law school's Appellate Moot Court team is composed of two boards, the Executive Board and the Associate Board.[14] The Appellate Moot Court Board hosts two intramural competitions each year, both open to second and third year USD Law students, the Alumni Moot Court Tournament and the Paul A. McLennon, Sr., Honors Moot Court Competition. The Moot Court Board also hosts the National Criminal Procedure Competition.[15]

Executive Board[edit]

The Executive Board is composed of 3L USD Law students who have various responsibilities, including organizing two intramural moot court tournaments and one national moot court tournament.[16] Additionally, Executive Board members compete at one or more national moot court tournaments.[17]

Associate Board[edit]

The Associate Board is composed of 2L USD Law students who assist the Executive Board in organizing intramural tournaments.[18] Each year a few Associates are selected to compete on an Executive Board national team.[19] At the end of the year, the Executive Board selects incoming Executive Board members from the Associate Board.[20] The new Executive Board then interviews and invites incoming 2Ls to join the Associate Board.[21]

Inter-American Human Rights Moot[edit]

Every year, USD Law's International Law Society sends two students to compete in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot in Washington, D.C.[22][better source needed][23]

National Trial Team (Mock Trial)[edit]

USD Law’s National Trial Team trains students for regional and national trial competitions. Competing in five major tournaments each year, the team is dedicated to teaching the art of trial advocacy and molding strong future litigators. Members of the trial team are selected through participation in a spring intramural competition. The team is coached by seasoned attorneys with both mock trial and real-life litigation experience. Competing members can receive academic credit.[24]

Transactional Law Team (TLT)[edit]

The Transactional Law Team competes in the National Transactional Law Meet. TLT provides a forum for students to hone their corporate and transactional law skills, to explore the M&A process, and to further develop their negotiation tactics. Through preparation for and participation in transactional law competitions, members of TLT obtain an inside look into a practical corporate transaction deal and will have the ability to utilize those skills in future practice as corporate attorneys.[25]

Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (VICAM)[edit]

USD Law’s Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (VICAM) team competes in the area of international commercial law and arbitration, also known as alternative dispute resolution.[26] Members of VICAM compete in the Willem C. Vis Moot in Vienna, Austria and the Vis East in Hong Kong.[27] Each member of USD VICAM takes a course titled International Asia-Pacific Commercial Arbitration, which introduces them to the field of international commercial arbitration and prepares them for the Vis Moots in Vienna and Hong Kong.[28]

USD VICAM hosts the Michael Thorsnes International Commercial Arbitration Competition each year.[29] The competition serves as preparation for the Willem C. Vis Moot. It is an international competition, and in 2017 twenty-two teams from ten schools participated, including schools from Japan and Russia.[30] In 2017, the North American Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) sponsored the final round of the Eleventh Annual Michael Thorsnes International Commercial Arbitration Competition, providing a cash award to the final round participants.[31][32]


According to the University of San Diego's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 53.1% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[33] The University of San Diego's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 32.1%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[34]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at the University of San Diego School of Law for the 2014-2015 academic year is $69,489.[35] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $263,032.[36]

Notable alumni[edit]

Student publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "U.S. News & World Report, "Best Law Schools: University of San Diego"". Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ "ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year". ABA website. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ AALS Member Schools
  4. ^ Weyenberg, Michelle (January 2011), "Best Law Schools for Public Interest", The National Jurist, San Diego, California: Cypress Magazines, 20 (4): 24–28 
  5. ^ Order of the Coif member schools
  6. ^ Introducing Dean Ferruolo
  7. ^ a b Ferruolo bio
  8. ^ Brian Leiter, "Appendix D: Summary Rankings for the Top 25 Schools, 2003–04"
  9. ^ "Brian Leiter's Top Law Schools by Specialty Area, 2002–03"
  10. ^ USD Law faculty bio, Junichi Semitsu
  11. ^ USD Law faculty bio, Frank Partnoy
  12. ^ 2007 Leiter Rankings – Student Quality
  13. ^ a b "Internet Legal Research Group: University of San Diego, 2009 profile". Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ University of San Diego School of Law#Advocacy Programs
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Employment Statistics". 
  34. ^ "University of San Diego Profile". 
  35. ^ "Tuition and Expenses". 
  36. ^ "University of San Diego Profile". 
  37. ^ Qualcomm Investor Relations, Executive Officers
  38. ^ California State Bar Membership Records
  39. ^ California State Bar Membership Records
  40. ^ Colony Inc. Company Executives
  41. ^ "CAMP, David Lee, (1953 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 
  42. ^ University of Texas archive speeches "Nomination of Joseph Ghougassian To Be United States Ambassador to Qatar, October 2, 1985"
  43. ^ DeArmond, Michelle, Kimberly Trone and Jose Arballo, Jr., "Timeline of Pacheco's political and legal career", The Press Enterprise, January 5, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  44. ^ Supreme Court of Nevada "Justice Parraguirre Will Be New Chief Justice at Nevada Supreme Court" December 30, 2009
  45. ^
  46. ^ San Diego Law Review, Journal Homepage (Accessed August 22, 2015)
  47. ^ San Diego International Law Journal, Journal Homepage (Accessed August 22, 2015)
  48. ^ San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law, Journal Homepage (Accessed August 22, 2015)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°46′19″N 117°11′16″W / 32.77194°N 117.18778°W / 32.77194; -117.18778